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Miracle Patient: Zim Surgeons Remove Axe from Man’s Head

Harare – Despite the health delivery system being in the ‘intensive care unit’, Zimbabwe surgeons defied odds to successfully operate a man...

Harare – Despite the health delivery system being in the ‘intensive care unit’, Zimbabwe surgeons defied odds to successfully operate a man with an axe stuck in his skull. Doctors confirmed that the axe penetrated the bone structure, resting precariously millimetres from his brain matter.

Somehow, it missed vital blood vessels. But any slight movement was fatal, yet the nearest hospital is 160km away.

Images of the axe embedded in his head have since gone viral.

Sipho Ndebele (31) from Nkayi was axed by a fellow herdsman Adam Ncube (20) over a misunderstanding. Ndebele endured 160km journey on a bumpy, dusty road, only to receive medical attention 14 hour later.
Man Attacked with Axe 

According to the Chronicle and eyewitnesses, Ndebele allegedly ordered Ncube to herd his cattle, but Ncube refused, resulting in a fight. After striking the victim, Ncube fled the scene, leaving him unconscious while bleeding profusely.

Villagers ferried Ncube in a scotch cart as a formality believing he was already dead. But nurses confirmed he was still alive, and referred him to Nkayi District Hospital, 160km from his residence.

“The nurses said they could not attempt to remove the axe because doing so was very risky. They instead rushed him to Nkayi District Hospital with the axe still stuck into his skull,” said Lwazi Moyo, speaking to the Chronicle.

At Nkayi, more bad news awaited Ndebele. The medical personnel at Nkayi District Hospital also said they did not have the capacity to remove the axe and referred him to Mpilo Central Hospital – a further 150km drive.

Arriving at Mpilo, after enduring a long drive on the often derelict roads, Ndebele was rushed for an emergency operation. 14 hours later, he was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was discharged three days later.

Speaking to the press, Ndebele said he did not recall much.

“I can’t really remember much as I drifted in and out of consciousness most of the time. What I remember is the excruciating pain,” relieved Ndebele.

Later, doctors told him any further movement, could have ended his life.

“The doctors said the operation was so delicate that any slight mistake could have killed me. They said if the axe had moved a fraction of a millimetre deeper, or to the left or right I could have died,” said the now discharged Ndebele.

His tale remains a mystery to many, including himself.

Ndebele added: “It is a miracle to have an axe stuck deep into your skull for more than half a day and still survive. Also considering the state of the Nkayi- Bulawayo Road, it was tough and painful to have someone hold the axe in position so that it does not cause further damage”.

Ndebele is indebted to the medical staff for saving his life, when everyone had lost hope.

“I can only say I am happy he made it. He is unbelievably lucky. Members of the public should not attack each other with weapons as it leads to unnecessary loss of life,” said Dr Ngwenya, Mpilo Hospital CEO, opting to leave out confidential details.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has noted an upward trend in murder cases in 2017. Some attacks are related to prevailing economic challenges.

Ncube, attacker has since been arrested.

“Police arrested Ncube on the same day he attacked Ndebele following a manhunt,” said the police. – Chronicle/

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